Some people may think that since the primary teeth are eventually lost and replaced with permanent teeth, that children don’t need dental care. However, this is not the case and dental care for children is actually very important. For starters, having dental care at a young age familiarizes your child with dental hygiene and helps them develop good habits that will stay with them as they get older.
Not only that, but it is important to keep primary teeth healthy so they are not prematurely lost. This is because the primary teeth actually play a few important roles. For starters, they allow children to learn how to chew and speak properly. They also keep each other in their correct places so that there is enough room for the permanent teeth to eventually erupt. When a primary tooth is prematurely lost, this can negatively impact a child’s ability to speak and eat properly. It can also cause the teeth to shift, which can cause complications when the permanent teeth start erupting.
For these reasons, you should take your child to a family dentist at least once every six months. During these visits, your child’s teeth and gums will be evaluated for early signs of potential problems. In order to prevent or treat dental issues, there are a few dental treatments that are used for kids, such as:
Just as adults need to have their teeth cleaned regularly, children also need regular dental cleanings. Teeth cleanings are preventative procedures that should be performed on both the primary and permanent teeth in order to remove excess plaque and decrease the risk of developing dental decay or gum disease. Since the American Dental Association recommends teeth cleaning twice a year, this is the most common dental treatment for kids.
Fluoride has been shown to strengthen the tooth enamel while also making it harder for bacteria to adhere to the tooth’s surface. As a result, fluoride treatments are another preventative treatment that can further decrease the risk of developing tooth decay or gum disease. In most cases, fluoride is applied topically to the teeth after a dental cleaning.
Younger children or those who struggle with maintaining an oral care routine may also have dental sealants applied to their teeth as an additional preventative measure. Sealants are ultra-thin coatings of tooth-colored composite resin that are brushed onto the chewing surface of molars. They help to prevent decay by acting as a barrier between bacteria and enamel. Sealants are often applied to the molars because their highly textured surface is one of the most common locations of dental cavities in children.
Dental fillings are a common restorative treatment used to restore teeth that have been affected by tooth decay. Once the decayed tissue has been removed, the remaining cavity will be cleaned and filled. There are different dental materials that may be used, but the two most common are silver amalgam and composite resin.
In order to take care of your child’s teeth and maintain their oral health, your family dentist may use one or more of these dental treatments for kids. Teeth cleanings and fluoride treatments are standard preventative treatments for all kids, however dental sealants may or may not be needed for your child. Additionally, dental fillings are a restorative treatment that is only needed if a dental cavity has formed.
Dr. Dennis Laurich has been practicing dentistry for over 40 years. He received his DDS degree from the University of Michigan Dental School and regularly attends oral health care conventions to continue his dental education. This allows him to treat patients with leading dental technology and methodologies. Additionally, he is a member of the American Dental Association, Michigan Dental Association, and the Detroit District Dental Society.